Team Malta Beats Eight Nations to win IX Mediterranean Challenge Cup, San Marino



    Republished courtesy of (Monday, 03 April, 2006)

    Malta's Tenpin Bowlers have once again proved their chosen sporting discipline is one of the precious few in which our sportsmen and women can seriously compete against world class competition from nations much greater, and with far more resources than our own.

    Adding to the ever-growing list of international Bowling honours, the Team representing Malta in last week's IX Mediterranean Challenge Cup not only scooped an impressive array of medals in all divisions, but they managed to win the entire event against teams from eight other Mediterranean countries.

    Other than Malta, the participating teams hailed from Italy, Greece, Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, Morocco, Gibraltar and host nation San Marino.

    2006MCCTeamMalta.jpg The Maltese team was made up of local stars Sue Abela, Lorraine Casha, Brian Farrugia and Rankin Camilleri who earned right of representation in a national qualifying tournament held at the Eden SuperBowl. The foursome were also accompanied by Leli Baldacchino as team Manager. Our bowlers were to compete in five categories in San Marino, namely: Ladies' Singles, Men's Singles, Ladies' Doubles, Men's Doubles and also Team of Four. The individual scores of each bowler from all categories are then added together to decide the ?All Events' classification in the Men's and Ladies' divisions.

    Affectionately known as 'Queen of the MCC', Sue Abela put Malta straight into the reckoning by finishing first in this the opening event of the IX MCC. Sue blew the opposition away throughout the six game series, starting with an excellent 257 game and never dipping below the 200 mark. She finished with a tournament record score of 1348 (224.6 ave) to claim her 17th Gold medal in the nine year history of this event. Second, 110 pins behind was Natassa Rovithaki of Greece, while Italian Cristina Sgrosso took the bronze medal.

    Young Lorraine Casha has developed into one of Malta's top female bowlers over the past year, and this was her second consecutive opportunity to play for her country in the MCC, having also formed part of the team in the eighth edition held in Malta in 2005. Lorraine suffered a pair of low early games until she managed to fine her shot, and eventually rally with a fine 219, 245 finale to push herself up to seventh place among the seventeen strong ladies' field.

    Men's Singles: 300-Game, And Silver For Brian Farrugia

    On the local scene, Brian Farrugia has come close to rolling the ?dream game', a perfect 300, on numerous occasions, only to fail in the final frame, or indeed very last ball of the game. His moment of glory finally came in the Men's singles competition. Farrugia began his six with a 200 game, and improved steadily to a 226 in game four. It was in the fifth that his twelve-in-a-row strike-fest wowed the enthusiastic crowd, this the first 300 game ever to be played in the MCC, and word of Brian's amazing feat had reached friends and family in Malta by means of mobile phones and the internet before he'd even stepped up to begin his final game, which was a 235 to give Brian second place with a 1390 tally (231.6 ave).

    The Gold medal was won by Domenica Maddaloni of Italy, who registered a phenomenal 1474 total (245.6 ave) also a tournament record, while the Bronze went to San Marino's own Nico Gasperoni, as Malta;s Rankin Camilleri bowled a very good 1248 (208 ave) to place ninth in the very tough men's category.

    Doubles: Malta's Girls Take First Place

    Abela and Casha faced stiff competition in the Ladies' Doubles competition, particularly from Greece and Italy, and were also subject to some rather unsporting attempts to distract them during play from some opposing quarters. They managed to retain full concentration however, leading the field by a mere 17 pins after three of the six games ahead of the Greek pair thanks to two great games of 452 and 473.

    Game four proved to be the clincher for Malta as the team shot a great 471 against a 389 from Greece to make them very difficult to catch with only two games remaining. Malta bowled a 372 and 430 in the home stretch to take first place on 2588 pins, giving Casha her first taste of MCC Gold, and Abela her 18th . The pair were 58 better than the Greeks who took Silver with 2530 pins, ahead of Italy in the Bronze position on 2487.

    The Maltese pairing of Farrugia and Camilleri settled for fifth place, with a very good team effort of 2397 over their six games in the Men's Doubles which was dominated by Israelis Tener Israel and Jonathan Geller. They claimed first place by setting another tournament record, an incredible total of 2715 pins. Greece finished the event in second place, while third place went to Italy.

    Team Event: Malta Take Second Place

    While the Greek contingent proved too strong in the Team Event, the Malta foursome gave a fantastic display of teamwork to claim a set of matching silver medals.

    Malta led for the first two games, rising well to the challenge from Greece, but then the latter powered ahead over the rest of the six games to go first with a 5195 team total. Malta earned second place on 5041, while Turkey managed to earn a place on the victory podium, coming in third with 4967 pins.

    All Events: Excellent Individual Performances Pay Off for Malta

    The All Events classifications are also medal earners according to individual cumulative scores, and Team Malta's fantastic efforts throughout paid off particularly for the ladies, but also for Malta thanks to our consistently successful performances throughout the history of the Mediterranean Challenge Cup.

    Sue Abela took yet another Gold in the ladies division, ahead of Greece's Natassa Rovithaki in second. Third place went to Malta's Lorraine Casha largely thanks to her excellent bowling, particularly in the Doubles and Team events when she rolled 1253 and 1265 pins respectively.

    The Team's incredible success throughout the event meant that Malta were proclaimed winners of the IX Mediterranean Challenge Cup, with a total of six awards (team medals count as one award) including three Golds, ahead of two for Greece, and one each for Italy and Israel.

    After nine years of competition in this event Malta also leads the historical medal classification with no less than 21 gold medals, ahead of Greece in second place with nineteen. Spain are currently third with seven golds.

    Malta's participation in the Mediterranean Challenge Cup is made possible by backing from the Malta Tenpin Bowling Association, and the continued support of the Malta Olympic Committee.